September 29, 2008

Orientation Day for RN Program


955,000 miles, almost 500 months and 15,500 days after I became a LPN, I'm finally a student nurse again. I'm getting my associates degree in nursing so I can sit for state boards and work as a registered nurse.

The new vibrant colorful textbooks decorate the kitchen table and a quick peek into several reveal that they are written in English and the information is not all Greek! (Click photo for close-up).

These are my study guides for the first quarter of my RN program at Bohecker College! Almost $855.00 and about 55 pounds of dry weight to lug from class to class. "They aren't heavy...They're my BOOKS!"
The magic number 55 cheered loudly again today! Cars with 55 in the license plates surrounded me as I traveled the two miles to school. The president of Bohecker College announced that after our class graduates, Bohecker College will have graduated 455 nurses (LPN and RN's). And, my drive-through lunch came to $5.05. As if I need more affirmation!

Orientation was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., but I was saying good-morning to the college landscapers by 8:15. Not surprisingly, I was one of the first student nurses to arrive. Almost 25 other students trickled in for the next 45 minutes. But absolutely no one wore a bigger smile than I did! (Our class has more students (55?), but we are divided up into different orientation days.)

The crispy morning air seemed perfect for my first day although early fog caused some schools in the county to open a couple hours late. On the whiteboard at the front on the room the words blazed out at me. "Welcome RN Students".

Orientation included a welcome to several students who were returning after finishing the LPN course to complete the RN program. As I glanced around the room full of LPN's, I looked to see if there was anyone I knew or had worked with but all were strangers with almost no expression on their sleepy faces. The young man next to me looked way to young to be a nurse. He shivered in the cool classroom. The young lady on the other side said she'd been working as a LPN for a year but there was no shine in her eyes.
she was already tired? Most of the class agreed with the admissions director that the main reason for advancing their education is to make more money.

My numbers-minded husband has put together some figures, but my goal when I'm an RN is to work WHERE I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. For too many years I've been an observer in the team-making process of care-giving when my abilities and experience could have been used if the letters after my name had been different. I feel like I've been walking behind the horse in the parade, cleaning up the mess even as I listened and learned along the way.

Yep. At the golden age of 58, I will be the oldest, wisest and most grandmotherly student in the school. (That's not to say the smartest.) Hubby advises to choose my study partners carefully because, he says, many will be coming to me for advice. I'm not convinced of that, but do hope to have the same opportunity to learn as if it was my first year on the job!

Much of the orientation time was spent listening to motivational speakers urging students to not give up and keep their goals in front of them at all times. "You'll want to throw your books at the wall and give up. You'll have excuses to call off. Kids will get sick. Cars will break down. You will be tempted to give up!".

I wanted to raise my hand high and argue.

"Not me! I've looked forward to this year for 38 years. See me smile! Nothing you offer will beat me down! BRING IT ON!

My smile didn't fade as I signed my name to a $800+ bill for my books! My smile didn't fade as I lugged the pile of textbooks to my car in several trips. My smile didn't fade when my uniform fitting was about at least 6 sizes larger than the first time I was a student nurse! My smile didn't fade when I noticed that I was older then most of the administration and ALL of the students in my class

My smile will glow in the dark tonight as I snuggle next to hubby Jim who must take some credit for directing me on the path! Jim's faith in me is unwavering!. His belief in my dreams and gentle nudges to keep me focused on the goal are priceless! He has promised to "hold the ladder" and I am sure he will not only hold the ladder but build a bridge if I need it.

After orientation today as I was loading the trunk with boxes of books, another student stopped to say hi. He asked why I had waited so long to get my RN. My reply...

"I finally have a husband who believes in me and wouldn't let me give up my dream."

I'm also appreciative that my sons are grown, educated and supportive.

By the way, I started a new website to keep a 'living diary" of my 14-month program, but most of the postings will also be carried here. That site is listed on the left with my other websites.

Tale Care on the Journey,



September 28, 2008

A Dog and Her Master

Ching-Ching and Daddy Jim pose for a fall portrait sesson.

Ching-Ching was recently diagnosed with serious diabetes. She still drinks excessive amounts of water but other than that, seems to still feel pretty good.

Jim and Ching-Ching say "Hi" to all our cyber friends.

Take Care on the Journey,

September 25, 2008

It's Not My Fault

Breaking News... After I posted this article last night, the financial and political situation has gotten worse. Another crash of a major banking institution during the night; WaMu collapses! It is reported that McCain only muddied the waters at the White House yesterday on the $700 billion dollar bail-out issue; Obama may be the only candidate to show up at the $55 million dollar debate planned for tonight; Palin has faltered on foreign policy issues during interviews and people don't know if the doors will be open when they head to their bank this morning...

The last few days the words, "It's not my fault" have become familiar excuses in the news as the leaders of our country try to agree on a plan to bail out mortgage companies in trouble to the tune of at least (how do I write such a big number?) $700 billion dollars.

I haven't heard one person say, "I'm part of the problem" when most of them ARE the problem. I have no expectation that things will get better in Washington because they have forgotten the Golden Rule and simply cannot accept responsibility for their own actions.

While I'm pretty sure that nothing I say will help fix Washington or keep my mortgage company in business, it would be nice to know that we could live and learn how not to act from what's going on in our country today. Do we treat others as we want to be treated? Do we take responsibility for our own actions and reactions?

We laugh at McCain and Obama for going tit for tat, but sometimes treat others the same way if they step on our toes. Instead of choosing to hate someone, or feeling anger toward them or getting depressed about a situation, we should think about our reactions and emotions and take responsibility for them. Of course it's so much easier to place blame. To find imperfections in others. To say they made a mistake or misdeed. I wonder when it become so acceptable to place responsibility for our emotions and actions on others?

For example, last night President Bush spoke at 9 p.m. totally messing up all the millions of evening prime-time programs that were timed to be recorded while folks were finishing up the business of the day. We had set Criminal Minds and CSI NY to record at the same time so, when the president came on, we turned off the TV knowing our shows would be recorded and we would watch them later. Being tired, we went to bed early.

You can guess what happened. Tonight when we sat down to watch our recorded programs, the last 15 minutes got cut off as the recording stopped at the top of the hour. Now whose fault was that?

"Blasted Bush", yelled my husband...

In other areas, but along the same line, I would like to report that I had a very nice BIRTHday. (Sept. 3). I did have some expectations that did not get met, but I chose not be to disappointed. I was happy that my kids remembered to call. (Mothers worry about that because it isn't acceptable to call and remind them about OUR birthday.) I even got a card from youngest son before my birthday! Hubby spread the party out over several days. Many friends sent nice birthday cards and emails.

But, several people whom I thought would remember, did not contact me. (OK my mother being one of them.) And, seven of my eight siblings also choose not to celebrate my birthday with me. I could have let that spoil my joy of the day or, with good reason, held it against them, but I chose to pass on those feelings. Perhaps they didn't remember. Maybe they don't even know when my birthday is - although it's in the book - LOL. Maybe they are not feeling strong enough emotionally to give something back on such a personal day. My point being is that if I let it bother me, I'm the only one who suffers.

Speaking of my mother. She fell and broke her hip on September 12. Emergency surgery was done and she is in rehab now. Doing very well, she says. Already taking some steps around the room.

One last example of how we can choose our reactions. This morning my husband committed the 'unpardonable sin" in our house.

I woke up at 6:40 a.m. and his side of the bed was empty. I jumped out of bed to find that his briefcase was gone from the kitchen chair. I ran to the window and saw that his car was gone.

He hadn't woke me up to kiss me goodbye!

Looking in the bathroom for a note that said, "didn't want to wake you" and then running back to the kitchen table to look for a note that said, "you were sleeping so peacefully", and finding nothing, I slowly walked back to the bedroom planning my reaction.

Yep. My reaction. I had many choices. For one split second I considered getting dressed and showing up at his breakfast place to confront him in front of everybody. (Yea, imagine that.) Then I thought I could call him when he got to work and really make him feel bad. Really rub it in. (Yea, that's me too. ha ha). Lastly, I decided that he must have really been tired and without me to push him out he door, he was probably running late too. Or, as I suspected was more the truth, he simply didn't want to disturb my peaceful sleep.

As I drifted back to sleep I knew I'd call him at work because it was important for me to make a statement. I would suggest that if he doesn't want to wake me up, he should leave a cup or something by my bathroom sink so I'd know he didn't "forget" me. It's important for me to know he didn't "forget" to kiss me goodbye.

Later, I called him at work and mentioned that I missed my morning kiss. (Maybe I put just a little pout in my voice.) He said he touched my foot and I didn't move. But (his words), "You were purring so peacefully, I didn't want to take you from your sweet dreams." However, he assured me this will never happen again. Those of you who know my hubby have no doubt that it won't.

Sweet dreams to all of you.

Take Care on the Journey,


September 16, 2008

Sign-up For My Newsletter

Did you notice the sign-up box for Linda's Newsletter on the left? I've wanted to start an email newsletter for a long time but didn't have the computer know-how. A new sitemeter called offers me a way to make a subscription list, so if you put in a name and email address, I should get it. After that I have to learn just how to make an online 'newsletter' and send it to you by email.

Things I plan to include are areas that I have an interest and experience in such as photography articles, helpful medical information, household tips, interesting web links, how-to articles, a swap shop, free things, an exchange list of "white elephants' where we exchange things we don't want for things we do want, perhaps an advice column and - always - suggestions from you - the reader! Maybe we could post pictures from our readers and articles from guests.

So please sign up and let's see if we can get this ship on the water! I don't care if you use a phony name but it must be a working email address. In fact, I often use the name of a pet when I sign up for something like this. Our cat, Samantha used to get emails and once she even got a free credit card!

If you have any suggestions for a newsletter title or other articles you'd like to see, I'd love to hear from you. Remember my email address is easy.... (From your email - Don't click the email listed here or I may not get it.) Or, please comment below.

Eventually, I might send my subscribers the first chapters of my new book(s) that I'm writing. I might even offer you FREE books! You never know. No matter what, my subscriber list will not be sold or even given away to anyone. You will only get mail from ME.
Help me make this little dream come true. Thanks.

Take Care on the Journey,

Hurricane Ike in the Midwest

The spot where I used to park my car at EnglishRose Photography at the Mike Carr State Farm Insurance building in New Albany, Ohio. (Click on photo for close-up view.)
Before I update everyone on the destruction Hurricane Ike produced here in Columbus, Ohio, I will let you know that our fury dogchild, Ching-Ching seems much better the last few days! Even more significant, is that we didn't provide any medical treatment (reasons described in a previous story) except a vigorous back massage I apply along her spinal cord several times a day! Chiropractors aren't allowed to do this, of course. But I'm not a chiropractor - just a believer in natural methods of healing whenever possible!

I truly believe this 'adjustment' helped our other dog, Sheba when she was diagnosed with Cushings Disease and not expected to live more than six months. Now over a year later, Sheba is happy, alert and very adapted to her life of total darkness as she is also blind with something the vet called SARDS. (I had hoped the back massage might have helped that too...)

The dogs sit down as I gently massage in a circular motion all along the entire backbone. They snarl a little when I hit a sore spot so I'm more gentle in those areas. I don't believe I have to make any qualifiers about how this medical advice has not been approved by the food and drug administration. My information is strictly personal with no guarantees of healing. ...

Three days ago, Hurricane Ike traveled from Huston, Texas to the Ohio Valley where she unexpectedly spewed hurricane force winds across cities like Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio. We had seen the weather forecast for a wind advisory but did not expect nor prepare for the howling winds that started up Sunday afternoon, September 14, 2008.

As usual, Jim went outside to enjoy the forces of nature. Ching-Ching lay on the grass next to Jim as he sat on the edge of our patio, both facing the howling wind and breathing in the new odors of the southern storm. I noticed that both Jim and the dog had their eyes closed because the wind carried bits of sand and other debris.

I comforted Sheba inside who doesn't like storms of any kind and wants to lie as close to me as she can. When the wind finally forced Jim and Ching inside, I commented that this was different from Michigan winter storms where the wind doesn't let up for days at a time and one feels like they are breathing out but never able to take a breath in. We wondered how fast the wind gusts were and estimated that some were greater than the hurricane winds we witnessed in Florida.

Later we learned that some gusts at the Columbus International Airport (about 10 miles from our house) were over 75 MPH.

Our electric flickered a few times but has stayed on - unlike over 250,000 AEP customers in the Columbus, Ohio area and over 1.2 million customers in the state of Ohio!

Monday morning Jim left the house for work and drove across the bridge to his favorite breakfast restaurant when he suddenly noticed that it was totally dark in that area of New Albany. He returned home for a couple fried eggs. I got up and turned on the news to discover that two great financial institutions had turned belly up in our nation and the electricity was out in many areas of Columbus and surrounding towns. Trees were uprooted, cars crumbled, houses demolished, businesses without electricity and schools closed.

Parts of Texas will never be the same after Ike. Government will never be the same with the fall of three of five major financial companies and Columbus, Ohio was impassible on Monday.

Jim did get to work by car (instead of bus) and downtown Columbus does not seem as affected. It's getting there that's the problem.

The family whose child I nurse had to leave town to be with family in Pennsylvania because they still don't have electric - four days later - and they have medical equipment that needs electricity.

So, I'm unexpectedly off work with nothing to do. I was wondering if I should call and volunteer for the Red Cross like I used to! They are busy setting up food and shelter for those whose food has perished in their refrigerators and cars have run out of gas. People are parking their empty cars at gas stations waiting for the electric to come back on - or the gas trucks to arrive.

Our electric company sent trucks to Texas to help restore service after Ike, so Ohio is having to call for help from the east coast. Stores that are open are completely out of batteries, flashlights and,of course, generators. There's not a generator to be sold in the entire state of Ohio.

Blessedly, the weather is beautiful. Sounds of chainsaws fill the air. People are helping people. A neighbor where I work loaned his generator to my family for a few hours to charge medical equipment and try to save refrigerator foods. (They told me if I heard the generator stop running in the garage to make sure no one was stealing it.) I haven't heard of much looting, though. Just good camaraderie and unselfish sharing and helping each other.

So, it's bad news mixed with good here in the Midwest. One strange story, though. About a year ago, a student from Ohio State simply disappeared one night after being out with friends. His picture was circulated and new stations ran the story many times. The man's father was sure son was alive and has been relentless in his search. On Sunday, the father was killed when a tree fell on him during the wind storm. Part of me wonders if he finally found his long-lost son.

Take Care on the Journey,


September 13, 2008

How Much Is Too Much For Our Pets?

Ching-Ching - February 2008.
We’re having a dilemma at our house. defines the word dilemma as a ‘choice between equally undesirable alternatives” or “a difficult or perplexing situation”. Both descriptions apply to our situation although to some folks this would not even be a question to be debated.

As it is, I’m not sure hubby and I are ‘debating’ the issue very much because he seems certain of the answer and, as usual, I’m pouring over
alternative solutions and offering a variety of options! The reasonable response verses the emotional response!

The ‘situation’ involves our beautiful loving Golden Retriever, Ching-Ching! Maybe I should stay away from adjectives as I write this story in order not to prejudice the reader. But, I’m not necessarily seeking advice or asking for the right answer because the decision is already cluttered enough with our own personal feelings and moral convictions!

It started with Ching-Ching’s water bowl. I’m the regular caretaker for feeding and filling the water bowls for Sheba and Ching. Hubby takes over on the weekends when his schedule is a little more flexible. Last week I noticed she was drinking a LOT more water. Instead of filling it each morning, I found it empty several times a day. It dawned on me that she was drinking at least a gallon of water a day – and outputting in equal volume!

Another difference - Sheba often comes to my side of the bed during the night snorting a little to waken me for a potty run. This has been happening with more frequency since she was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. At the door, Sheba stands back away from the door while I shoo Ching away from her favorite sleeping spot so we can open the door. (There’s been some fighting over the preferred cool spot by the door.) Ching-Ching usually slugs over to her personal couch for the rest of the night as Sheba and I step outside right under the little dipper and the Orion cluster for Sheba’s nightly ‘outing’. If it’s nice outside, Sheba might try to lie down on the cool grass but I’m not that nice at 3 a.m.!

The last week or so, Ching-Ching has dashed outside along with Sheba. That put together with the excessive drinking, I decided Ching-Ching either had a urine infection or diabetes so I took her to the vet last Thursday. Within the hour, the vet surmised that this wasn’t a urine infection but she wouldn’t confirm other problems without blood tests. Before we left the office, less $285 dollars and two vials of blood, I felt certain we were not going to be happy with the news.

We got he call yesterday afternoon. According to Dr.Zinni who did Ching-Ching’s emergency surgery back in February of this year, (see story at, Ching-Ching is a diabetic in need of some serious treatment – at a formidable cost to us that we cannot afford.

Already, I can hear the clamor of opinions. Pet lovers who understand the chemistry between dog and master would howl with disbelief at the bare thought of not treating with hospitalization, Insulin, regular blood tests and special diet ($500 starting on Monday added to the $285 last Thursday).

On the other hand, those who don’t pamper their dogs as we do, offering these furry children the life of leisure and luxury, shake their heads with bewilderment at our discomfort.

We know of many dog owners who have so many dogs tied out in the front yard that one can’t get through the barking, growling big dogs and yapping squirming small puppies. Their purpose is to howl at the moon, produce more puppies and bark at any disturbance of nature 24/7.

Other people value their pets more than real children, often putting their pet's health care above their own! Sparkle has his own bed, catered food, manicures in a regular basis with only the best in nail color, name brand outfits and personalized strollers for the frequent outings to restaurants and pet parks to name only a few.

Our furry children come close to the second category. But not quite.

Here’s where the dilemma occurs.

Do we treat aggressively?
No treatment at all?
Self-treat with vet supervision? (I can give shots and monitor blood sugars but the vet doesn't support that.)
Self-treat without vet assistance? (Order meds online and watch diet.)
Allow pet to die at home no matter how bad she gets?
Put to sleep when she is in a lot of pain?

If we treat as the vet as suggested, Ching-Ching would need at least one overnight hospital stay to monitor during the initial Insulin treatment. ($500 up front.) There would follow weekly vet appointments and blood draws. (At least $100 weekly) Cost of meds and other supplies for incontinence. ($50/wk) Administration of shots once or twice a day. Monitoring of blood sugar every 4-12 hours depending on how she is responding. Cost of extra special diet and no treats or snacks they love once in a while. Our schedule and time required to do all this is almost impossible with our work schedule. There would be unpredictable reactions and no guarantee of quality of life or lifespan. (Ching-Ching is nine-years old.)

We are sure this is something we can’t afford and don’t want to subject Ching-Ching to, but the dilemma is how we feel about making that decision!

While we have enjoyed a good relationship with Dr. Zinni, we are going to have to say no to her recommendations and expect her disfavorable reaction.
I guess it’s one day at a time now as we wait for that “nighty-night” time. Ching-Ching is still alert, eating well and playful. We hope this doesn’t deteriorate too fast. But, we will continue to do all the things she loves including rolling in the grass on walks with Jim, a dog bone once in a while and just a little bit of daddy jim’s cookie at supper time.
Take Care on the Journey,

September 9, 2008

Black Hole Earth Event Imminent

There's a story circulating that perhaps you've heard of on the news. Will this earth still be here on Friday September 12, 2008 or will have we created an experiment that opens up a black hole for the earth to be swallowed up in by the end of the week?

Religious leaders scoff at such a story because it goes against Bible theory that this world will be destroyed by fire by God after the second coming when all the 'good people' are taken to 'heaven'.

Other's who hold no such view of our life force might take this experiment more seriously.
I'm tossing it out here with this link just in case anyone has some unfinished business they should take care of by then - or maybe you'd like to add your comment about our possible pending extinction.


Take Care on the Journey,

September 5, 2008

Help! A UFO In My Kitchen Sick!

Anyone who knows me would think I'm exaggerating when I tell you that I was screaming at the top of my lungs this morning. So much that my throat is still sore tonight!

Jim had just left for work a little before dawn. I'd made him an egg sandwich for breakfast and sent him out the door with some hot tea. The morning air was fresh and cool but not uncomfortably so. The sun was just starting to lighten up the eastern sky. Wishing I could go back to bed but knowing I'd never got ready for work on time if I did, I started cleaning up the kitchen.

The double sinks were clean except for one small pan soaking from last night's Lima beans. I emptied the pot of water into the disposal sink and something in the other sink caught my eye. Before I could form the words, "What the...???", I saw this small black furry wet animal scurrying around in the sink!

Instantly I thought it was a mouse, but it had coal black fur and the tail was only half a long as a mouse. It's nose was not as pointed either. Besides, we don't have mice! Not one bit of evidence anywhere that we have a mouse in the house! This was a UFO (Unidentified Fat Object).

But the next instant I was screaming! I'm not normally a screamer. Not even if I see a mouse - or a snake - or a spider or other wildlife creature who comes too close for comfort. I gag when I see a worm and don't step on snakes, but I'm not afraid of them. And I never scream!

I guess this was so unexpected. And I was alone. It was something out of my control. Here was a live animal in my clean kitchen SINK. Uninvited. Unwelcome. Weird. Unexpected. Scary.

How did it get there was even more terrifying. Did it come up from the disposal or the water pipe? Would it disappear the same way it got into the sink only to return and nip at my fingers as I did the dishes? Or be ground to bits the next time I turned on the disposal?

These questions only caused me to scream at it louder and longer!

"What are you? Eeeeeeeek How did you get in the sink? eeeeaaaaoooouuuu Where did you come from? yyyyuuuuuukkkkkk How am I going to get rid of you?" iiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkk

For a second, I peered a little closer tying to convince myself that this was a joke. Maybe Jim left me a tiny kitten for my birthday. He did hide little gifts around for me to find throughout the day. Nope it wasn't a kitten! And I started screaming at the walls, the dogs and myself again.

I hoped the couple upstairs who are usually also up early would come to check out why all the noise. But the unspoken courtesy of apartment living is that any unusual sounds coming from the other side of the walls are none of your business.

So no one responded to my shouts and I knew this must be tackled alone - and soon! What was it? Not a mouse or a rat. It's head and tail were different. I'm not even sure they make black mice, but it wasn't a mouse or a kitten was all I had figured out by the time I decided that whatever this black creature was, I wasn't going to kill it in the sink but I wasn't going to leave it there either!

Grabbing a thick (clean) dish towel, I threw it over the excited animal and ran outside with it squirming around in the cloth like it would escape and jump down the front of my nightgown any second! Tossing it into the grass, the fright left me as quick as the UFO left the towel. I peered closer to see if I could figure out any more from this strange visitor in my kitchen.

Nope. It dug down into the grass (not scampering like a mouse would do) and disappeared.

Feeling empty of life and desire to do anything at the moment, I glared at the dog who had remained quiet and was looking at me in a strange way. "Mommy okay?" Sheba seemed to be asking.

I'm still not okay. Jim says maybe the little animal might be a small mole that came in when the door was open although we NEVER leave the door open. Or perhaps it was in a plant container we brought in from the store the other day? It could have possibly climbed up the trailing vines I have on the table by the front door and above the sink. That's the best we can think of.
But you can be sure that tonight all the lights on are and the kitchen sink has been cleaned for hours with bleach and disinfectant. The mystery remains, but at least I'm not still screaming.

Take Care on the Journey,
Don't leave the doors open!

September 3, 2008

Birthday Blessings

September 3 ...

... IS the day I've celebrated all my life even though my birth certificate lists September 6, 1950. I didn't obtain that document until later in life, and by then it felt like a disgrace to change the day I like to think I arrived for this lifetime. So while some of my family members still ask what day I celebrate my birthday, hubby likes to shower me with birthday celebration all week long!

Today I've taken the day off from work - or should I say - my nursing job. Jim urged me to sleep in and enjoy the day as he slipped some birthday presents around the house for me to discover when I 'got up".

Sheba, on the other hand, expected the usual schedule and insisted on having her breakfast at 6:31 a.m. Perhaps Sheba knew the brightly colored package on the kitchen take was from her and Ching-Ching and she couldn't wait for mommy to share some sweet Godiva dark chocolates.

Wearing my new sparkling horseshoe necklace from hubby (good luck ?) over my PJ's, (hubby has never heard of Jezabel), and sharing our chocolates, Sheba and I had the bed made up (I don't do that every day!) laundry going, trash out and vacuuming done by 8 a.m.. I wanted to run some errands (rent payment and post office) and shop for a new birthday blouse before meeting a friend for a fun birthday breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Scramblers - otherwise known as "The Egg Place".
The silk blouse (pictured) I found on sale at Macy's was a $75 value on sale for $26.00! Jim will like it, I'm sure when we go out for a candlelight supper tonight. (Do they have candle light at Olive Garden?)

I think that birthdays are good for reflecting not about how much older we are or the changes in our body that Father Time loves to pepper us with, but on what we are thankful for and the direction we are taking with our life. None of us have the perfect life although sometimes I hear people say they have "everything they could ever wish for". That's usually someone who just had a new baby or recently got married. That's not the gratefulness I'm thinking about.
Believe me when I say I'm thankful for my dear hubby! (pictured in small photo). He was sent by the universe to watch over me when life seemed to be at rock bottom for me.
Once a mother - always a mother. Every time I wake up in the morning or after a nap, my boys are smiling from the large photograph on the dresser by my bed! (Pictured) They are always close to my heart and still chattering little boys in my mind. That's not quite as good as having them living nearby, but I know they love and respect me all year 'round. I love you!

I'm very thankful for the security of a loving and special sister, Sandy (pictured on right). We've sure been through some tough times in our life and haven't been able to spend as much time with each other as we would like to, but Sandy is only a heartbeat away in spirit and number 6 speed dial on my cell phone! Future plans are for us to live closer to Sandy before too much longer. I can't wait!

Of course, I have other family members who mean a lot to me. My mom and siblings in CT keep in touch although we were separated early in life and haven't been able to be together as much.

I think of my friends who each have a special meaning in my life. Some have stayed around to encourage and bless me for many years - new ones are added along the way. Last year we spent my birthday with good friends, Floyd and Tania who have been there as far back as I can remember. My breakfast this morning was with a fairly new friend who is young enough to be my daughter and whose children are fast becoming better than grandchildren!

Johnnie called on Sunday. Olive write me a poem and sent it by email. Grandpa Cash remembered my birthday even though he's 88 years old! (He still goes to church every Sabbath and has a Bible Study group in his living room every week!) Other friends will be in contact throughout the year and anytime we need each other. Thank-you and love!

Good health...I'm working on making mine better and thankful for my wonderful professional, caring and talented chiropractors, Drs. Heather and Greg Prenger.

Goals in life are still being formatted and anticipated! The RN program for me is scheduled to start October 6. Becoming a registered nurse is one of the longest and most desired life goals I've had! I'm not there yet, but obstacles of the past are gone and it looks like I will be moving forward into the role of "student" for 2009!

Our world, government and life changes are taking place at a very rapid pace all around us. Tonight I'm planning to listen to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speak at the Republican Convention (on TV of course). Some are betting that John McCain will drop her as his running mate with the pressure of negative press. I doubt that. Even though I still don't think she's vice presidential material, she does appear to be a strong woman and will probably survive the onslaught.

The presidential race between Obama and McCain looks to be close down to the wire and the disparity of candidates have everyone talking. While we may voice support for one or the other, I believe the universe still holds some power in holding back the curtain of time.

I'm a child of the universe and assured that my life is special and well guarded. I'm forever thankful for that assurance and for unconditional, everlasting love.

Thank-you for being my friend and for walking this journey with me!

Take Care on the Journey,